What’s special about this particular clothing drive?
We are a fully volunteer organization with no paid staff. Our overhead costs are supported by our board members and their employers – and not by individual donors. We organize and hold this clothing drive each year to help supply the demand of as many DC metro shelters and facilities that serve the homeless as possible. In past years, our clothing drive donations have been delivered to 70+ such organizations. The reason why we and our volunteers go through the massive effort of sorting clothing donations received during the drive is to meet specific shelter needs conveyed to us before the drive (men’s, women’s, children’s, special types of clothing, toiletries, etc.). Our board has a lot of heart and we all do this in our spare time. Homelessness is a serious cause and is significant in the DC metro area. GFTH and our supporters help give dignity and take care of others in need.
When is the drive held?
Our drive is only held once a year, and always during the first weekend of December. (In 2014, that’s Friday, December 5th, Saturday, December 6th and the morning of Sunday, December 7th). We do not collect used clothing donations year-round, but feel free to set any aside any items for us throughout the year and then donate them when the drive recurs. Alternatively, you could browse our list of shelters and homeless service providers that we serve, and find one near you to make your donation after the drive. (Be sure to call first as many restrict donations based on space or types of clothing by gender, adult/children, or season).
What items are accepted?
We focus on warm winter clothing and bedding (blankets, sheets, and sleeping bags), but all items of clothing for men, women and children will be gratefully received – including sweats, sweaters, pants, business casual, night clothing, and accessories. Men’s clothing and plus size clothing of both genders are in particular great need. There is also a need for travel size toiletries of all types. We can find a home for other items as well, including but not limited to: toys, shoes, luggage, sheets and towels, and good, working household items such as dishes, small appliances (think compact microwave or smaller), strollers, baby care items, etc. No furniture, computer equipment, or bulky items, please.
Who can donate to the drive?
Anyone can! Law firms of any size, non-profits, other offices, and individuals. Historically, law firms, corporate law departments, legal vendors and government agencies have partnered with us by holding their own drives in November, and delivering the items to us to sort, bag and deliver. We would encourage you to recruit your employer to join us! But, whether you have one bag of donations or a truck full, we are grateful to receive any amount of donations that you can provide. In other words, there is no minimum commitment. If you know of someone who is interested in donating, please feel free to encourage them to do so. We post materials about the drive on our website and you are welcome to share them with others.
How should I prepare my items for the drive?
We have no rules on how to bring your stuff to the drive – feel free to place your donations in any type of bag (plastic, paper, reusable, etc.), box, or other item (e.g., if you are donating a hamper) that is available to you to transport the items over to our sorting site. No need to dry clean items before dropping them off at the drive, but clean items are gladly accepted.
Where do I drop-off my stuff?
Donated items may be gathered and stored in your office or home until we kick-off the drive on the Friday of the drive weekend. Unfortunately, GFTH has no storage for donated items and we must receive, sort and deliver all of the donated clothing and other items only during the drive weekend. Before each drive, information is provided on our website, gfth.org, Facebook, and Twitter about the weekend drive site. Make sure to check us out and like/follow us so you can be kept in the loop about our activities!
For firms and offices with a large number of donations: We suggest a caravan of employee vehicles leaving your office to arrive at our temporary drive location (in 2014 — at the D Street entrance of the Portals III Building, between 12th and 13th Streets, SW), between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the Friday of the drive weekend. Some firms and offices with large quantities make arrangements with their vendors or others to donate delivery services. Others with smaller donations can hop in a taxi or two. Be creative! When dropping off your donations, please make sure to check in with a GFTH board member (in a GFTH t-shirt or other identifying means) so that we make sure that your firm/office gets counted.
We will continue to accept donations from the public at large and from volunteers who will join us to sort and bag clothing on Saturday morning. (In 2014 – that’s December 6th!).
Do you provide tax receipts?
Yes! If you donated clothing or other items through a law firm or office that has signed up with us in advance, your donation site coordinator will be able to issue you a receipt, which you will fill out with descriptive information of the items donated. You value those items yourself for tax purpose; GFTH does not assign a value. If you donate in person at our temporary donation site, we will provide you a receipt there.
If you are making a monetary donation, GFTH will issue you a thank you letter/receipt if your gift is $100 or greater, otherwise, your website acknowledgement or your check will serve as your receipt.
Who receives the used clothing donations collected?
We try to serve as many shelters and organizations that serve the homeless as possible. A list of those organizations is posted on our website at www.gfth.org. If you know of a particular shelter or organization that is not listed and can use some help, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can volunteer?
While the drive primarily targets the DC metro legal community, anyone from any walk of life is welcome to volunteer. Individuals and groups – both small and large – are welcome to join us. Some firms/offices/ organizations will convene a group of employees, friends and family to volunteer together during the drive.
Kids of all ages are welcome to join us, and little ones love to participate. Parents of children under 18 years of age will need to complete and submit a parental permission form before or at the drive. The form will be provided to you upon request by emailing your GFTH contact or email@example.com.
Volunteers look forward to the drive each year and become regulars. It’s a great way to spend a winter day indoors, do some good, and meet other people in the DC area who share an interest in helping others in need. This is particularly an easy opportunity for busy people with limited time, but who want to help out with a great cause on a weekend.
How do I volunteer?
Volunteering for the drive is a once a year opportunity. No minimum amount of time is required and volunteers are welcome to help as long as they like.
We ask that all our volunteers pre-register at our website: www.gfth.org. Click on Volunteer! There is plenty to do to help us set-up, receive clothing, and possibly some sorting and deliveries on the Friday of the drive. Volunteers, including drivers, are needed for sorting and deliveries the Saturday of the drive. Food and drinks are provided to all volunteers! Importantly, we also need volunteers to help with a few large deliveries, as well as breaking down our sorting site, on the Sunday morning of the drive weekend.
How do I get to the sorting site?
We hold the drive each year in downtown Washington, DC in an area that is Metro accessible and has parking. (In 2012 – 12th and D Streets, SW, an easy walk from the Smithsonian — Orange/Blue Lines — or L’Enfant Plaza — Yellow and Green Lines — stations). Please make sure to check our website in advance of the drive for more information on our location, points of transportation access, and parking availability.
If I cannot make it to the drive, can I still help?
Please spread the word about the drive to your employer, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors through word of mouth, social media and websites, and printing out and posting materials from our website. You can also make a donation of any amount through our website – 100% of all donations that we receive are used to purchase and distribute essential new clothing items to DC-area shelters and facilities that serve the area homeless. Many area shelters solely or predominantly depend on us for their essential clothing needs during the winter months. We get the most bang for your buck by purchasing bulk amounts at low prices from wholesalers.
You can also mail your donations to:
Gifts for the Homeless, Inc.
Department Number 0046
Please, no UPS or FedEx deliveries to this address.
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